The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Katsina State has urged its members who benefited from the first phase of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to repay the loans.
The state RIFAN Chairman, Shuaibu Wakili, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Daura on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 56,000 farmers in 36 local government areas of Katsina State secured the ABP loans for their dry season farming in 2017.
Mr Wakili reminded the beneficiaries that the loan repayment period was one year, as stipulated in the preconditions for ABP loans, saying that they should repay the loans on time to enable others to benefit from the revolving loan scheme.
He said that farmers were expected to repay the loans with bags of rice paddy, as stipulated in the loan conditions.
“We are expecting each farmer to present 10 bags of the paddy rice per hectare, as the number of registered hectares for an individual farmer or group determines the amount of bags that would be presented as repayment,’’ he said.
Mr Wakili urged the farmers to hasten the repayment of their loans, as preparations toward the disbursement of loans for the 2018 dry season farming had commenced.
He pledged that the association would expand the programme to accommodate and register at least 80,000 farmers for the dry season farming.
He said that the beneficiary farmers were expected to repay the ABP loans through their respective local government RIFAN chairmen, adding that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure compliance.
“The earlier the loan is repaid, the better for the beneficiaries and the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, as the loan is expected to revolve to others,’’ he said.
The RIFAN chairman lauded the federal government for introducing ABP, saying that the scheme had produced many millionaires and created thousands of jobs for the citizens.
He particularly noted that the scheme had reduced poverty and unemployment by about 65 per cent in Katsina State.
Besides, Mr Wakili said that RIFAN had supervised the distribution of fertilisers, sprayers, insecticides, herbicides, seedlings and water pumping machines to rice farmers.
He praised the federal government and Katsina State Government for the attention given to the agricultural sector, describing it as unprecedented and saying that the farmers had never had it so good.
He also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria and other coordinating banks for efficient and timely disbursement of the ABP loans, adding the apex bank had done a lot in efforts to address the challenges facing the farmers.